Blockbuster year for UK film industry

(REUTERS) - It's broken global box office records.

And profits at the film studio where Star Wars was made are also rocketing.

Pinewood made £7 million (S$14.6 million) in the six months to September - almost triple what it made the previous year.

"It has done well and occupancy is very high, I think it is 87 per cent," said Pinewood's corporate affairs director Andrew Smith.

"Clearly the film tax relief has been very successful, and it adds to the attractiveness of the UK as a destination but it's also about the access to the cameramen, the plasterers, the carpenters, the wigmakers as well as the facilities."

Over the past eight decades, Pinewood has been home to some of the world's most iconic films.

The latest Bond movie Spectre was also made there - and both the spy film and Star Wars have been hugely successful.

Brand Finance's marketing and communications director Robert Haigh thinks Disney got a good deal when they paid US$4.1 billion (S$5.8 billion) to George Lucas for the Star Wars franchise rights.

"The business is now worth US$11.1 billion. So that value has nearly tripled just in that very short space of time. And when you look at the pipeline of the films that they are seeking to produce and obviously the massive merchandising opportunities in the form of toys it is really not actually that surprising that Star Wars is worth quite so much," said Mr Haigh.

Pinewood already boasts Europe's biggest stage and the world's only permanently filled underwater one.

But it is still expanding, spending £200 million pounds at their Buckinghamshire site - including building 12 new stages.

And Hollywood movies are not their only market - it is also making video games and has just signed a new contract with Amazon.